Authenticity Is The Cutting Edge Of Culture

The topic of this video blog is − how the cutting edge of culture is authentic communication. Indeed, everywhere you turn today, you hear about authenticity. There are authenticity trends in publishing, online search, marketing, leadership development and cultural evolution. What’s going on? Why is this explosion of authenticity happening? And, what are the implications? If you don't see the video below click here.


Welcome! I’m Richard Hawkes. Indeed, everywhere you turn today, you hear about authenticity. There are authenticity trends in publishing, online search, marketing, leadership development and cultural evolution. What’s going on? Why is this explosion of authenticity happening?

Authenticity Trends in Publishing

Authenticity is a big buzzword in publishing circles. Why? Because of the worldwide explosion in young adult fiction. Among types of literature, young adult fiction is written in one of the most authentic voices. In 1997, 3,000 young adult novels were published. Twelve years later, that figure hit 30,000 titles --an increase of a full order of magnitude. However, it is not just young adults that are reading these books. Adult adults are reading them as well! All ages seem hungry for authenticity. And, as a result, other literature genres are struggling to reinvent themselves with a more authentic voice.


Authenticity Trends In Online Search

Authenticity is a big buzzword in online search circles. For example, in 2011 Google implemented Panda. Panda is a search algorithm to separate high-quality content from low-quality content. It is designed to separate authentic experts from pretenders. Its mission is to take out the bad guys like the Kung-Foo Panda does. Changes in online search, like Panda, have had a big impact. Many websites that were once prime online search destinations have gone from the top of search pile to bottom. “Content is king” has become today’s recommended strategy when organizing or building a website. In other words, if you are building a website, focus on the steak not just the sizzle. Authenticity matters! As a result, blogging has become an essential part of any online platform. And a large industry of professional bloggers for hire has emerged. Blogging has become 21st century journalism. And this authenticity trend is just getting started. There are rumors that Panda is being upgraded to now be able to separate professional bloggers from the actual experts doing the work and the actual blogging.


Authenticity Trends In Marketing

Authenticity is also a big buzzword in marketing circles. Research shows that you have to be “real” in order to connect with todays social media savvy audiences. For example, consider the rise of videos blogs, like this one. Video blogs are one of the best ways for professional advisors to connect with potential clients. Why? Because it is hard to fake being an expert in a video blog. According to best selling author Michael Hyatt, video blogs are up to 52 times more effective than regular text blogs. However there are rules. Video blogs need to be of higher quality than say a home movie, but not the professional quality of say a movie trainer. Why? Because people rightly distrust slick advertising. Alright, so here is my disclosure. This is one of my first video blogs, warts and all. I thought that it would cool to focus on the topic of authenticity. And, I thought it would be cool to do it in a medium in which I am trying to learn how to authentically communicate. Do I look a little nervous or unsure? Inside I am feeling a little that way. But mostly I am feeling the way I feel when I am trying something new. What a rush!


Authenticity In Leadership

Authenticity is also a big buzzword in leadership development and organizational change circles. This is the area in which I personally work. I work as an executive coach and expert in creating high-performing executive teams. So in my expert opinion, why is authenticity an important leadership attribute? Well, in my experience authentic leaders are better able to develop high-performing teams. And major change initiatives, such as post-merger or acquisition integrations or rapid organizational growth, have much higher success rates when led by authentic leader with high-performing teams. So, please let me offer you my definition for authenticity. It is the one I use with leaders and teams. However, this definition should also work for the publishing, online search and marketing worlds. Here is the definition: "Authenticity is having integrity between the roles you play externally and who you are internally." And, here are some examples: In the publishing world, writing in the first person is an authentic voice. In the online world, a website labeled with search words that do not match site content is inauthentic. In the marketing world, a good quality product at a fair price is authentic. And, in the leadership world, a top leader who is close-minded but insists that his or her team be open to new ideas is an inauthentic leader. For me brand integrity has a lot to do with authenticity. For my business the integrity of our brand is very important. The essence of our brand promise is we keep leaders focused on how to get to the next level − even when it requires us to ask questions or to present facts that make them uncomfortable. As a result, we have on occasion fired clients who were unwilling to work with us in the way that we have chosen to work. Fortunately this hasn’t happened very often. So far choosing to be more authentic has had a much bigger upside than downside for us.


Authenticity Trends in Cultural Evolution

Authenticity is also a big buzzword in cultural evolution circles. Research into different kinds of cultures shows that in cultures at higher stages of development authenticity and transparency are strong values. So, here is the gazillion dollar question. Is our shared global culture in the process of evolving to a higher stage? I believe that trends in publishing, online search, marketing and leadership development say yes! I believe that humanity is collectively innovating on all fronts to become more authentic. And for me personally, this is good news! [/expand]   Please add your comments to this blog: What is the significance of these trends in authenticity to you?  

Here are some additional links:

Growth River - Guiding Business Evolution

Authentic? Get Real

The Argument for Authenticity in Popular Culture